Thursday, September 28, 2006

God Cares

What a comfort it is for me to know that God cares and loves me. He cares about every area of my life. I praise God that today I am a child of God near and dear to Him. If you are in Christ this day He cares and loves you the same way. I am thankful for His saving grace that brought me to salvation. Without His saving grace where would a person be? Still dead in sins and trespassess obviously only knowing a common grace as the world does! Friend, it is a comfort, a joy to be in Christ. Today may this become more and more real to you. Give glory, honor and praise to His dear name as you serve Him in obedience.

I have to share another one of C.H. Spurgeon's devotions for today, may it grip your heart as it did mine.

"The Lord looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men."Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne, and coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the woes of mankind. We love Him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until He had made a personal visitation of them. We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord who inclines His ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but love Him when we know that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways? Specially is this great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how attentive He is, not merely to the temporal interests of His creatures, but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator, yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept by thee, think not that God doth not behold; for, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." Thy sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; thy whisper can incline His ear unto thee; thy prayer can stay His hand; thy faith can move His arm. Think not that God sits on high taking no account of thee. Remember that however poor and needy thou art, yet the Lord thinketh upon thee. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him.
Oh! then repeat the truth that never tires; No God is like the God my soul desires; He at whose voice heaven trembles, even He, Great as He is, knows how to stoop to me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wrestling with Predestination and Election

I remember when I was fully against the Doctrines of Grace and would argue heatedly against them. But the more I studied scripture to deconstruct the Calvinist argument's the more I became convinced that I was wrong.

The blog, Reformation Theology has great article dealing with this subject.

Here is an excerpt:

I think many pastors and teachers who believe it, do not preach about it for this very reason. The question then becomes, who are we trying to please - God or men? Jesus preached it and watched many in the crowd walk away when He pressed the claims of Divine Sovereignty in election. In John 6:65, 66 we read, "And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore."

Monday, September 25, 2006

True Repentance-A Must!

It is really something to me that some people say they don't have to repent from their sins and that it an optional thing in salvation. This is simply not true! Sin must be dealt with and one cannot be saved and not repent from their sins. May we be found as individuals that always repent of the filth of sin daily and see it for what it is. We need to understand that when we sin as believers, we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God. Just read this great, challenging article from Thomas Brooks. Brothers and Sisters, when was the last time you wept over your sins before a Holy God?

(Thomas Brooks, "Heaven on Earth" 1667)

Sin is a turning the back upon God--and the facetowards hell. Repentance is a turning the back upon sin--and a setting the face towards God!True repentance is a sorrowing for sin because it is offensive to God. Peter was sorry for his sin; Judas was sorry his for punishment. Peter grieves because Christ was grieved; Judas grieved because he would be damned.As Noah's flood drowned his nearest and his dearestfriends, so the flood of penitent tears drowns men's nearest and their dearest lusts! Be they Isaacs or Benjamins, be they right eyes or right hands, true repentance puts all to the sword; it spares neither father nor mother, neither Agag nor Achan.Repentance is a turning from all sin, without any reservation or exception. One stab at the heart kills, one hole in the ship sinks her, one act of treason makes a traitor. Just so, one sin not forsaken, not turned from, will undo a soul forever.A true penitent looks upon every sin as poison, as the vomit of a dog, as the mire of the street, as the menstruous cloth, which of all things in the law was most unclean, defiling, and polluting. He looks thus upon every sin, turns his heart against every sin, and makes him not only to refrain from sin--but to forsake it, and to loathe it more than hell. True repentance breaks the heart with sighs, sobs, and groans--that . . . a loving Father is offended, a blessed Savior crucified, and the sweet Comforter grieved. Penitent Mary Magdalene weeps much, as well as lovesmuch. Tears, instead of jewels, were the ornaments of penitent David's bed. Surely that sweet singer never sang more melodiously, than when his heart was broken most penitentially.The sweetest joys are from the sourest tears; penitent tears are the breeders of spiritual joy. The bee gathers the best honey off the bitterest herbs. Christ made the best wine of water; the strongest, the purest, the truest, the most permanent, and the most excellent joy is made of the waters of repentance.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."
Psalm 126:5

Article on Lordship salvation-A must read!

SBC - To Be or Not to Be Calvinist - Is That The Question?

LifeWay Research took a poll of SBC Pastor's on whether or not they are Calvinist's. Check Founder's blog for Tom Ascol's take on this.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Could Lazarus Have Resisted Christ's Call to Come out of the Tomb?

"Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did." John 11:38–46

Lazarus was dead, not critically ill or at the point of dying. He was already a corpse and was decomposing. The stench from his rotting body was repugnant to his sister Martha. The miracle of his resurrection was accomplished without means, that is, without balms, medicines, cpr, and so forth. The only power Christ used here was the power of his voice. He uttered a command, not a request or an invitation. He made no attempt to woo Lazarus from the tomb. This resurrection was strictly monergistic. Lazarus rendered absolutely no assistance. He was incapable of assisting in any way because he was completely dead.

Some may argue that though Christ supplied the initial power of Lazarus’s resurrection, Lazarus nevertheless had to respond to Christ’s command to come forth from the tomb. Is this not a cooperative work, a synergism between Christ and Lazarus? Most of the confusion regarding regeneration enters the picture here. Obviously Lazarus did respond. He came out of the tomb in obedience to Jesus’ command. After life flowed anew in Lazarus’s body, he became quite active.

Monergistic regeneration has to do, not with the whole process of redemption, but strictly with the initial condition or first step of our coming to faith. To be sure, Lazarus acted. He responded. He came forth from the tomb. But the crucial point is that he did none of these things while he was still dead. He did not respond to the call of Christ until after he had been made alive. His resurrection preceded his coming forth from the tomb. His restoration to life preceded his response.

Arminians do not appreciate this analogy and protest that we are here comparing apples and oranges. Obviously in the case of physical death, a corpse cannot respond or cooperate. It has no power to respond because it is dead. But there is a difference between physical death and spiritual death. A physically dead person can do nothing either physically or spiritually. A spiritually dead person is still alive biologically. This person can still act, work, respond, make decisions, and so forth. He can say yes to grace, or he can say no.

Here we reach the ultimate point of separation between semi-Pelagianism and Augustinianism, between Arminianism and Calvinism, between Rome and the Reformation. Here we discover whether we are utterly dependent on grace for our salvation or if, while still in the flesh, still in bondage to sin, and still dead in sin, we can cooperate with grace in such a way that affects our eternal destiny.

For more study on this: R.C. Sproul: Grace unknown : The heart of reformed theology.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Prayer Request

Please remember to pray for our armed forces and their families.

Where Are They?

The thought has occured to me that there are not many modern day pastors/teachers who will explain the Bible correctly to a person and if it is done it is not that clear. Join me in praising God for the pastors/teachers today who explain the Word of God in a truthful, faithful, clear and understandable matter.

I praise the Lord for the solid, biblical thelology of many of the men in history. One can never go wrong with learning from C.H. Spurgeon. I am blessed each time I read the spiritual depth and clarity of Spurgeon; enjoy his devotion for today.

"Accepted in the beloved."Ephesians 1:6

What a state of privilege! It includes our justification before God, but the term acceptance" in the Greek means more than that. It signifies that we are the objects of divine complacence, nay, even of divine delight. How marvellous that we, worms, mortals, sinners, should be the objects of divine love! But it is only "in the beloved." Some Christians seem to be accepted in their own experience, at least, that is their apprehension. When their spirit is lively, and their hopes bright, they think God accepts them, for they feel so high, so heavenly-minded, so drawn above the earth! But when their souls cleave to the dust, they are the victims of the fear that they are no longer accepted. If they could but see that all their high joys do not exalt them, and all their low despondencies do not really depress them in their Father's sight, but that they stand accepted in One who never alters, in One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, how much happier they would be, and how much more they would honour the Saviour! Rejoice then, believer, in this: thou art accepted "in the beloved." Thou lookest within, and thou sayest, "There is nothing acceptable here!" But look at Christ, and see if there is not everything acceptable there. Thy sins trouble thee; but God has cast thy sins behind His back, and thou art accepted in the Righteous One. Thou hast to fight with corruption, and to wrestle with temptation, but thou art already accepted in Him who has overcome the powers of evil. The devil tempts thee; be of good cheer, he cannot destroy thee, for thou art accepted in Him who has broken Satan's head. Know by full assurance thy glorious standing. Even glorified souls are not more accepted than thou art. They are only accepted in heaven "in the beloved," and thou art even now accepted in Christ after the same manner.

Pulpit Magazine

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be able to have the opportunity to read the updated Pulpit Magazine of the Shepherds' Fellowship every day. I can now enjoy great articles from John MacArthur and others from the Masters' Seminary all the time.

After reviewing this magazine I love it! This one quote on evangelism speaks volumes. "Paul's evangelism method ends with a simple, powerful point: tell them to repent or be judged." Please don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with persuading a person to be saved, but it is interesting that many Pasotors and Christians these days try all sorts of gimicks in evangelism. It is clear that the apostle Paul didn't have a seeker sensitive approach to it at all.

Click here for magazine and mark today.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How Christians Should Respond to Muslim Outrage at the Pope's Message About Violence and Reason

“Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim.” Those were the words of Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Malin to a gathering of Muslims in Mogadishu on Friday, September 15, 2006. On Saturday, Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five Christian churches in the West Bank and Gaza. On Sunday, September 17, in London, outside Westminster Cathedral, Anjem Choudary addressed a demonstration and said that those who insulted Islam “should be subject to capital punishment.”

These were among the reactions to a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg University, in Germany on Tuesday, September 12. Perhaps connected to the speech was the murder on Sunday in Mogadishu of sixty-six-year-old Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian Catholic nun serving as a nurse in a children’s hospital.

In the speech, the pope was addressing the foundation of the secular university. The subject was faith and reason. He was arguing that the foundation of the university, and the spread of truth and faith, lay in the rationality of God. He asked, “Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?” He answers, “I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek, in the best sense of the word, and the biblical understanding of faith in God.”

In other words, the pope is arguing that the university, and all people, have an obligation to act in accordance with reason, because reason is rooted in God. At this point, he brought in a discussion of the difference between Islam and Christianity on the relationship between God and reason. Christianity, he argues, sees reason as rooted in God. But, citing a noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, he says that “Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that [in Islam] God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.”

This, he implies, disconnects God and reason and opens Islam to a use of violence in spreading their faith that is not governed by reason. He cites Sura 2, 256 from the Qur’an, where Mohammed says that there is no compulsion in religion. Then he draws attention to the later developments in the Qur’an by quoting the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus in 1391 in Ankara (today’s capitol of Turkey). The emperor apparently said that Mohammed taught that one could “spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Then the pope said,

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul…. God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats…. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature.
These references to the role of reason in Islam, and the apparent endorsement of violence (in parts of the Qur’an) as a way of spreading Islamic faith, have outraged Muslims and sparked violence and calls for violence. Subsequently, the pope said, “I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.”

How should Christians respond to this situation? I will suggest ten responses that flow from the Bible.

1. Admit that the Christian church has often been too entangled with civil governments, with the result that violence has been endorsed by the church as a way of accomplishing religious, and not just civil, goals. The Crusades, for example, stand as a monument to collective Christian blindness to the teaching of Jesus. We should make every effort today to avoid political alignments between the Christian church and any civil government or political party. (See my article, Tolerance, Truth-Telling, Violence, and Law.)

2. Make clear that the use of God-sanctioned violence between Israel and the nations in the Old Testament is no longer God’s will for his people. The coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as a suffering servant, rather than a warlord, and his gathering of a people from all nations rather than only one, are two of the many reasons why the Christian church today should not—and almost universally does not—endorse or use violence to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.

3. Admit that there are many Muslims today who do not approve of violence in the spread of Islam. Admittedly, to many of us in the West, their number seems small and their voice seems muted by the reputation of the more violent strains of Islam. We do not know how large that segment of Islam is.

4. Point out how Islam, in its most sacred writings and authoritative teachings, belittles Jesus Christ, not just occasionally in the news, but constantly by its dominant claims. Islam denies that Jesus Christ was and is God, a central truth of the New Testament and the Christian church (John 1:1-3; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8). Dominant streams of Islam deny that Jesus died on the cross and therefore deny that the claim that his death atones for sin and propitiates the wrath of God is true (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Romans 3:21-26; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). Therefore, defenders of Islam daily defame Jesus Christ and insult the glory of his gospel.

5. Point out that, in response to this constant defamation of Jesus Christ, there are no public threats or demands for apologies. This is not because we do not love Jesus above all things, or because we have no zeal for the glory of his name. It is because he told us to expect this (Matthew 10:25; John 15:20) and then modeled for us how to react: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

6. Do good to those who hate you—and, of course, those of other faiths who don’t hate you (Luke 6:27). This is not because Christians do not believe in vengeance. We simply believe that it is not ours to give. And this age is not the time to give it. This is an age of mercy and patience and forgiveness toward those who malign the King of the universe. He will have his Day of Wrath. But we are too sinful to be entrusted with that righteous judgment. Rather, we should obey the words of the New Testament: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head’” (Romans 12:19-20).

7. Seek to win others to saving faith in Jesus by persuading with words, not imposing with force. This was the way the gospel spread among many religions in the early centuries of the Christian church. The earliest teachers said, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” (2 Corinthians 5:11). When the New Testament speaks of the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) or “the weapons of our warfare” (2 Corinthians 10:4), it clearly means the word of God and power of spiritual persuasion.

8. Always be ready to die, but never to kill, for the sake of commending Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for sinners and rose again as the Lord of the universe. Jesus promises to triumph through our accepting suffering, not our causing suffering. He died to save all who will believe—from every nation and religion. He calls us to follow him on this Calvary Road. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). This is not the death of a suicide-murderer. This is the death of one who loves his enemies and, as he dies, prays, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), and, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).

9. Pray for the salvation of all those who belittle Jesus Christ. Pray that they would put their faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins so that if anyone—from any nation or any religion—would embrace him as Lord and Savior and Treasure of their lives, they would be saved from the guilt of sin and the wrath of God. They would have eternal life and joy. This is the way the great apostle Paul prayed: “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

10. No matter the cost, continue to exalt and commend Jesus Christ as the great and only Savior that he is. Say with the apostle Paul, “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The day will come when every knee will bow to Jesus as Lord and as God (Philippians 2:10-11). Until that day comes, affirm with Paul: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Ten Commandments Still Relevant for Believers?

Ten Commandments still relevant for believers, Mohler says to begin sermon series

September 21, 2006
By Jeff Robinson and Garrett E. Wishall

The Ten Commandments are still relevant for Christians today, but many evangelicals who fervently argue that they should be posted in public places do not know them, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Aug. 31 in a chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In the first sermon of a 10-part series on the Law of God as given to Moses, Mohler said the Ten Commandments are often despised by contemporary culture because the modern age is one that rejects binding authority.

"Who, after all, can tell us what we must and must not do?" Mohler said. "Who can tell us how we are to live? Who can tell us whom we are to serve? And then, you turn on the television or look at the newspaper or listen to the Supreme Court and hear controversies over the Ten Commandments. Should they or should they not be posted in public places?

"I will defend the constitutionality of posting the Ten Commandments in a public place. But I find it rather perplexing that many of those who seem most ardently committed to the posting of the Ten Commandments can neither recite them nor faithfully say that they have taught them to their own children. In our day, they seem to serve something of a symbolic role. We know how many there are, we're just not sure what they are."

Preaching from Exodus 20, Mohler unpacked the first commandment, "You will have no other Gods before me." The Law of God is unambiguous in its insistence that the God of Scripture demands absolute and undivided allegiance, Mohler said.

While it is easy to spot false gods within the culture, Mohler argued that "other gods" such as "the god of the American dream," are present in places where Christian theology is supposedly taught and believed. But the one true God has made clear in Scripture His character and attributes, as well as His demand for exclusive worship, Mohler said.

"[There is] the well-intended deity of American popular culture—the lighter-than-air dehydrated just-add-water god," he said. "And, as one author says, there is the 'break glass in case of emergency' deity.

For full article click here.

This May Be A Reason

One of my heroes of the faith is coming to the satellite system DirecTV. This may be an incentive for me to get the system one day in order to watch the preaching of John MacArthur at Grace Community Church in CA.

Click here for full article

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sad News

It is sad that many pastors in their pulpits stray away from biblical verses on Calvinism. Just the very mention of the term and verses in the Bible frightens some pastors and church members. That should not be the case! I personally feel that when these doctrines of grace are adopted by faith in one's life that peace will result. The Doctrines of Grace as read in the Bible should not be feared, but delighted in. Let me go out on a limb and say that I do not think that one can be a solid expositor of the Word of God and not be a Calvinist. There is no way in the world to interpret the Bible correctly and not hold to the doctrines of grace. If this is an area of struggle for you let me suggest reading the book The Doctrines Of Grace by James Montogomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken for a simple and explainable definition of Calvinism and the doctrines of grace. Stop fighting this biblical doctine now and begin enjoying God through these wonderful harmless doctrines of spiritual growth. Do me a favor and take out a piece of paper and jot down how many times you read the words election and chosen. Here is an article that I read about Calvinism that I wanted to pass along to you:

10 percent of SBC pastors call themselves 5-point Calvinist
By Libby Lovelace

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--While LifeWay Research found the number ofSouthern >>Baptist pastors embracing five-point Calvinism to be relatively small,it >>is undeniable that the conversations on Calvinism within the Southern >>Baptist Convention have brought renewed interest to the theological >>system.>>>>Proponents of Calvinism, or Reformed theology, view it as a healthyreturn >>to early Southern Baptist heritage. Others see Calvinism as a negative>>trend and fear it is threatening to take over the SBC. In itsinaugural >>survey, LifeWay Research sought to document the prevalence - or lack >>thereof - of Calvinism within the SBC.>>>>Surveying 413 pastors, the July/August 2006 LifeWay Research surveyasked >>Southern Baptist pastors to indicate their position concerning the >>following question: Do you consider yourself a five-point Calvinist?>>>>LifeWay Research found that 10 percent of Southern Baptist pastors >>consider themselves five-point Calvinists. That number, while still >>relatively small compared to the 85 percent who do not considerthemselves >>five-point Calvinists, still is a large enough group to deserveattention.>>>>The survey also showed that 4 percent of respondents dont know ifthey >>are five-point Calvinist. Another 1 percent refused to answer one wayor >>another.>>>>BELIEFS NOT AGE-RELATED>>>>After analyzing the demographics of the 10 percent who affirmCalvinism, >>LifeWay Research also found no clear age correlation.>>>>Some have expressed views that this renewed interest in Reformedtheology >>is tied to younger Southern Baptist students and pastors, said Brad >>Waggoner, director of LifeWay Research. It is interesting that the >>research revealed that there is no significant statistical differencein >>those who are over 40 years of age responding in the affirmative andthose >>under 40. Therefore, age is not a determining factor in those whoembrace >>Reformed theology. >>>>LifeWay Research also found that a slight majority (51 percent) of >>Southern Baptist pastors address Calvinism from the pulpit once a yearor >>less, while 45 percent of SBC pastors address Calvinism several timesa >>year or more from the pulpit. Four percent refused to answer thequestion >>regarding the frequency with which they address Calvinism from thepulpit.>>>>Of the entire sample, 6 percent of pastors responded that they address>>Calvinism once a month and 7 percent discuss it more than once amonth. >>The survey did not ask whether the respondents spoke favorably or >>negatively of Reformed theology.>>>>LifeWay Research chose to make Calvinism the topic of its firstproject in >>light of the increased dialogue across the SBC and as speculationemerged >>on the prevalence of Calvinistic theology.>>>>LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer announced the formation of >>LifeWay Research in February, saying the entity would assist and equip>>church leaders with knowledge that leads to greater levels of church >>health and effectiveness. The research seeks to measure accurately the>>beliefs and behaviors of people, the emerging practices of churches,the >>things church leaders are talking about, and the factors affecting >>churches today.>>>>Research is a critical need because the truth matters, Waggoner saidin >>a recent interview. There seems to be a need for clarity and >>interpretation of all this information.>>>>LifeWay Research conducted the study on Calvinism through a sample of413 >>Southern Baptist pastors surveyed by phone in July and August. Thesample >>has a margin of error of +4.8 percent at the 95 percent confidence >>interval.>>>>An Inside LifeWay podcast interview with Waggoner discussing the >>researchs findings will be available at>>>>LifeWay Research has three more projects scheduled for the remainderof >>2006:>>>>-- the formerly churched (why they left church and what would bringthem >>back.>>>>-- churches that are effective in evangelism over a 10-year period and>>why.>>>>-- the sources from which Southern Baptist churches draw ministryhelp.>>>>For more information, visit>>>>For a discussion of Calvinism by Southeastern Baptist TheologicalSeminary >>President Daniel L. Akin and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary>>professor Malcolm B. Yarnell III, visit >> for Akin's column and >> for Yarnell's column.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Biblical Parenting-Updated

We need to look at what the Bible says about parenting:
Parents must teach God’s truth (Dt. 4:9; 32:46).
Parents must lovingly discipline children because they are immature and need guidance (Prov. 22:15; 29:15).
Parents should not exasperate their children (Eph. 6:4).
Parents’ wise decisions bring blessing to their children (Dt. 30:19-20).
Parents who are godly teach their children to obey (Eph. 6:1; 1 Tim. 3:4).
Parents who faithfully train their children can be confident that their efforts are not in vain (Prov. 22:6).
JDB, Our Daily Bread, Sept.-Nov. 1997, page for October 12

Parents Neglect Biblical Principles

Of All Born-Again Parents…33% Practice Biblical Principles in Parenting.
The majority of Christian Parents surveyed in a recent Barna Research Group project say that church and the Bible do not influence how they parent their children.
Only 33 percent of born-again parents surveyed said their church or faith has been a dominant influence in the way they parent, and only half of born-again parents mentioned anything related to faith (including the Bible, church or religion) as a significant influence on how they raise their children.
The main influences listed by parents included: their own upbringing (45 percent); friends, relatives and spouses (35 percent); and books, magazines and articles on parenting (34 percent). Nearly 63 percent said they expect the church to take a more active role in assisting parents, and 80 percent said the church should do more to help people be better parents.
“Family ministry will be one of the hot issues facing the church over the next few years,” said George Barna, president of Barna Research Group. “The challenge facing churches is to know what types of support parents and family members need to become productive Christians and citizens and to provide that support in useful ways.”
“Ministry Matters’” from Ministry Today, April, 1998, p. 13.

I read from Spurgeon earlier this morning and his devotion got me thinking about Christian Parenting. What an awesome task it is to raise our children according to God's Word. Now, I am not pretending to be the best parent in the world. I could do alot of things better when it comes to this wonderful task of raising children. There are certainly some days I could make much better decisions concerning parenting. I have to repent often because I know my kids have NOT seen Jesus in me and I have failed in modeling to live His Word to them. I am reminded again and again how Pastors and Christians alike are to try and excel in this area. Praise God for His forgiveness when I fall short in this area. I sure needed these words from the prince of preachers and I am sure that there is someone else in cyberspace today who does as well.

"Bring him unto me."Mark 9:19

Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus' word, "Bring him unto me." Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, "Bring him unto me." O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto me." When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician's words, "Bring them unto me." Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.
The Lord sometimes suffers His people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary He is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning's need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, He delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to Him while He waits to meet us.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sermon Cloud -- Sermons, Shirts, - What More Could You Ask For?

Get your Sermon Cloud tshirt today!

Sermon Cloud shirts are now available. The goal is for people to see the back and go ?????? and ask a question which can be led to evangelism. All orders will include (1) definitions of the words and (2) a connection that leads to the gospel/evangelism.

Sermon Cloud is a site that provides "advanced sermon syndication." "Sermon Cloud is a website for a community to interact with sermons. What are the powerful sermons people are listening to? Who are the up-and-coming preachers of the day? Where are the messages about themes that you need to hear? How can you find a great preacher in your home town? Sermon Cloud was designed to help you with all of these questions. Sermon Cloud users help let each other know which sermons they amen. An 'amen' is a recommendation of the sermon. Users can post comments about their interaction with these sermons (even the comments can be designated as helpful or unhelpful)." As sermons are recommended, they become apparent to a wider audience, thus suggesting that better sermons will be heard by more people. Obviously the usefulness of the site depends, in large part, to the quality of the sermons. To this point it appears that many of the pastors are engaged in biblical preaching. But certainly having more preachers who deliberately and humbly exposit the Scriptures would increase the value of the site.

HT: Tim Challies

Friday, September 15, 2006

Big Rivalry Weekend - UPDATED

Saturday at 11:00 am CST is the biggest rivalry game of the season, University of Iowa Hawkeyes VS. Iowa State Cyclones. I am looking to the Hawks to dominate this year, whatever the outcome it should be a great game. Go Hawkeyes!!

UPDATE: After losing six years in a row to ISU the trophy is back where it belongs. The Hawkeyes won 27-17.

Recover Doctrine of Discernment

Many Southern Baptists have lost the ability to discern God's truth, and a failure to recover the doctrine of discernment will have disastrous consequences for the Kingdom of God, said Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Fla., during the Sept. 12 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"We have lost this ability to discern, and it is destroying the church," said Brunson, who pastored First Baptist Church Dallas, Texas, since 1999 before succeeding Jerry Vines in Jacksonville earlier this year.

"I worry about our denomination. I feel like if there is not a radical turn, we are going to be like Sherman standing on banks of the Chautauqua looking at the smoke from South Carolina when we look at our denomination in the years ahead—if we don't begin to use some godly discernment."

Preaching from 1 Thessalonians 5, Brunson gave three reasons why many believers have lost the ability to discern.

For full article click here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christ Is Present

C.H. Spurgeon has a great way of putting things. I wanted to pass along his devotion for this morning from Morning And Evening. If you do not have a copy I recommend getting one.

"There were also with Him other little ships."Mark 4:36

Jesus was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and His presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in Christ's company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord Himself, and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare as He fares; and when the waves are rough to Him, they will be rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to land, as He did before us. When the storm swept over Galilee's dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded shipwreck.
When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their harbour. His Church is the Admiral's flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He Himself is the great attraction; let us follow ever in His wake, mark His signals, steer by His chart, and never fear while He is within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day's cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey Him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in Him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Am I Predestined

Luther and Calvin on the Dangers of Speculating about Election Apart from Christ
by Shane Rosenthal

In 1524 Erasmus of Rotterdam decided to engage the famous Martin Luther in a debate over free will and salvation. Critical of Luther’s grace-oriented approach, Erasmus warned that Christians should not “through irreverent inquisitiveness rush into those things which are hidden, not to say superfluous.” Among the list of irreverent or superfluous debates, Erasmus included the question, “whether our will accomplishes anything in things pertaining to eternal salvation.” This assertion did not sit well with Luther who in 1525 published his book The Bondage of the Will as a way of responding to Erasmus’ complaints. “This is the cardinal issue between us, the point on which everything in this controversy turns,” Luther wrote. “For if I am ignorant of what, how far, and how much I can and may do in relation to God …I cannot worship, praise, thank, and serve God, since I do not know how much I ought to attribute to myself and how much to God.”

Throughout The Bondage of the Will, Luther presents his case that one cannot have a stable view of God’s grace unless it is anchored in the doctrine of election. He argues, for example, that a man will not completely despair of himself and his own works until he has “no doubt that everything depends upon the will of God.” Knowledge of God’s sovereign will in election then, is the only medicine strong enough to kill the virus of human pride in Luther’s scheme. “For as long as [one] is persuaded that he himself can do even the least thing toward his salvation, he retains some self-confidence and does not altogether despair of himself, and therefore he is not humbled before God, but presumes that there is…some place, time, and work for him, by which he may at length attain to salvation.”

Click here for full article.

This article originally appeared in the July / Aug 2006 edition of Modern Reformation and is reprinted with permission. For more information about Modern Reformation, visit or call (800) 890-7556. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Southern Baptists after the Revolution

This is an interesting article written by Timothy George at Beeson Divinity School. This is a must read for any Southern Baptist church member to read through and think about.


Doubtless, many voted for Page because of his strong support for the Cooperative Program, an important issue for a denomination that has to raise an annual budget of $200 million from voluntary giving. Still, his election was unexpected and can best be explained by an odd coalition of diverse subgroups within the Southern Baptist Convention that came together in Greensboro to register their concerns. At least five such groups can be identified.

Click here for full article.

The Holy Spirit

Pastors and believers need to be Spirit controlled.

Many have heard little or nothing about the glorious event that marked the advent of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2) However, the Bible declares that without the experience of Pentecost, we can know absolutely nothing of the living Christ today (1 Cor. 12:3). "Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus is accursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except in the Holy Spirit." ESV

Let’s take the life of Peter for an example. Peter was so different before Pentecost and after Pentecost. Why? Because the power of the Holy Spirit was now possible.

The Holy Spirit is the only Person who can convict a sinner of his sin and convert him to Jesus Christ. After conversion, He is the only One who can instruct the believer in the truth of Christ. He is the only One who can empower the believer for Christian witnessing. He is the only who can cleanse the heart so Christ can be enthroned.

No Room for the Spirit

D. L. Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.”

Source unknown

The average church member’s understanding of the Holy Spirit is so vague it is nearly non-existent.

Acts 15:8-9--
"And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith."

One thing is certain.

When Pentecostal power comes, sin is always revealed. This would be embarrassing to many, for the Holy Spirit makes clear and plain the sins in the lives of those who “call” themselves God’s own people. “When he (the Holy Spirit) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement.” (John 16:8)

There is little consciousness of sin, not much fear of God and few thoughts of the judgement and wrath of God today. How we need a fresh return of God’s power to cause men to see sin as it is and its destructive results here and in the hereafter.

A return of Pentecost will reveal and expose sin.

But greater still, it will remove sin. Jesus came to baptize us “with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matt. 3:11). The church needs this today. Fire signifies the refining, purging, purifying, cleansing work which God’s Spirit performs in the soul of a man or a woman. No power known top man can remove the dross, the chaff, the filth of sin in the human heart, save the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, how we need this innermost cleansing today! Thank God, we can have it through the medium of the Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18)

Seven major ministries of the Holy Spirit.

  • Convicts unbelievers of sin, righteousness and judgment: John 16:8-11.
  • Regenerates or causes us to become believers: John 3:1-8; Titus 3:5, I Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18.
  • Indwells and baptizes the believer: I Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:9; John 14:16; I Corinthians 12:13.
  • Seals us: Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30.
  • Imparts gifts: I Corinthians 12:7-11.
  • Fills the believer: Ephesians 5:15-21; Galatians 5:16.
  • Causes us to bear fruit: Galatians 5:22-23.— The characteristics of Jesus Christ.

Pastor brother or friend in the ministry will you be controlled by the Spirit of the living God this day?

When Lightning Strikes

I wish I could have been there to watch this game. As an official Raider Hater, nothing could have pleased me more. I love this game.

Chargers over Raiders

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Five Years Later

Just a reminder:

God was in control then, and five years later He is still in control.
Shall we accept good from the Lord and not bad?

Well Trained

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Man Of Great Words!

Here is this mornings devotion by the great C.H. Spurgeon, it blessed me may it bless you; have a great Lord's Day!

And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him."Mark 3:13

"Here was sovereignty. Impatient spirits may fret and fume, because they are not called to the highest places in the ministry; but reader be it thine to rejoice that Jesus calleth whom He wills. If He shall leave me to be a doorkeeper in His house, I will cheerfully bless Him for His grace in permitting me to do anything in His service. The call of Christ's servants comes from above. Jesus stands on the mountain, evermore above the world in holiness, earnestness, love and power. Those whom He calls must go up the mountain to Him, they must seek to rise to His level by living in constant communion with Him. They may not be able to mount to classic honours, or attain scholastic eminence, but they must like Moses go up into the mount of God and have familiar intercourse with the unseen God, or they will never be fitted to proclaim the gospel of peace. Jesus went apart to hold high fellowship with the Father, and we must enter into the same divine companionship if we would bless our fellowmen. No wonder that the apostles were clothed with power when they came down fresh from the mountain where Jesus was. This morning we must endeavour to ascend the mount of communion, that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are set apart. Let us not see the face of man to-day till we have seen Jesus. Time spent with Him is laid out at blessed interest. We too shall cast out devils and work wonders if we go down into the world girded with that divine energy which Christ alone can give. It is of no use going to the Lord's battle till we are armed with heavenly weapons. We must see Jesus, this is essential. At the mercy-seat we will linger till He shall manifest Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world, and until we can truthfully say, "We were with Him in the Holy Mount."


I have to be completely honest! I used to never miss an opening kick-off to a Chiefs game growing up. I hate to say it, often times it meant missing church altogether. When God called me to be a Christian and later into the pastorate I knew that I had to lay all things down at His feet and that included football. I have simply accepted the fact that I am not going to watch many kick-offs of the Chiefs at noon on Sunday's and that is okay because God is the sole ruler of my life; not football or anything else. After all the score will still be the same at the end of the game whether I watch it or not.

But today because I have breath in my lungs and am alive in Christ; I can praise the wonderful name of Jesus and say the words GO CHIEFS BEAT THE BENGELS!

It's Now A Video Game?

The popular Left Behind Books are now a video game;


Click Here for full article.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Big Game


d 21 San Diego 7

with Marty frustrated again!

Joel Osteen Deconstructed

Michael Spencer at Internet Monk has done a great job revealing the truth (and lack of) behind Joel Osteen. It is definitely worth a read.

Click here for article.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Not Ready For Prime Time?

I couldn't resist.

5 Points of Church Division

Contributed by:
Chris Humphreys

In case you haven't heard by now, there is an insidious teaching that is disrupting and destroying many a Southern Baptist church. It has even gone beyond the boundaries of the Southern Baptist Convention, but for our purposes, we will just talk about what is going on in our own backyard.

This new teaching has caught the attention of many in recent years, and seminary students, pastors and laypeople are following this teaching hook, line and sinker. It has reached epidemic proportions. It is about time something is done about it before it gets farther out of hand. Many prominent church leaders have already spoken out against this new teaching because they see what looms ahead unless this teaching is nipped in the bud.

Church splits have resulted from this teaching. Many Christians have been hurt over this teaching. To sit idly by and watch our beloved SBC torn apart is not a strategy we should be adopting.

This new teaching is named after one man. It has five points to it. The five points are built around an easy to remember acronym.

Yes, we are talking about. . .

Warrenism. And Rick Warren's five point P.E.A.C.E. initiative.

No, we are not talking about some dead theologian. We are talking about a living non-theologian who is creating all the commotion.

No, we are not talking about a historical doctrinal position held by Southern Baptists in their beginnings. We are talking truly about a new teaching that has more in common with New Age philosophy and liberalism than anything Southern Baptists have been identified with in its history.

No, we are not talking about something that the Baptist Press has picked up on and written extensively about to forewarn us of its abhorrent teachings. We are talking about something that is fawned over and promoted by countless Southern Baptist pastors and denominational leaders. It takes the secular press such as the Wall Street Journal to tackle this new teaching head on.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and shrewd in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:20-21

"An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their discretion; my people love to have it so, but what will they do when the end comes?" Jeremiah 5:30-31

P.S. After composing this article above earlier this week, I just found out yesterday that the Baptist Press has responded to the Wall Street Journal piece. Also, the Wall Street Journal has written another article on its series about the unspoken damages that Warrenism has created in many churches nationwide.

For Wall Street Journal Article Click Here.

For Baptist Press Coverage Click Here.

When World's Collide

A seemingly incongruous alliance: science and religion

First mega-church pastor Rick Warren endorsed the notion that climate change is a serious problem, and that Christians must address it.

Then came Pat Robertson.

Now the luminous E.O. Wilson, dubbed Darwin's heir, has sought to unite scientists and Christians for the preservation of the environment:

Wilson, 77, wrote "The Creation" in the form of a series of letters to an imaginary Southern Baptist minister -- just the opposite of preaching to the converted.

While the scientist believes in evolution, the evangelical Christian interprets the Bible as the literal word of God.

"I may be wrong, you may be wrong. We may both be partly right," Wilson writes.

"Does this difference in worldview separate us in all things? It does not," he goes on, drawing on his former experience as a Southern Baptist to find common ground.

To call scientists and Southern Baptists allies would seem to be a laughable thing. But there does appear to be some momentum behind the notion of such a union for the express purpose of preserving the planet. Will anything come of it? I would hope so.

HT: Eric Berger
For full article click here.

To Be Like Jesus

A Christ follower needs to follow the example of Jesus Christ daily. He or she must without hesitation take up the cross and follow Him each day.

Character of Christ

Humble service (John 13:1-5)
Holiness (I Peter 1:15-16)
Righteousness (I John 3:7)
Purity (I John 3:3)
Love (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Forgiveness (Colossians 3:13)
Compassion (Ephesians 4:32)
Endurance (Hebrews 12:2-4)
Submission (I Peter 2:21-4)
Humility, obedience (Philippians 2:5-8)
Kindness (Luke 6:35)
Generous giving (II Corinthians 8:1-9)

What a responsibility the church of Jesus Christ has to be an example to those inside the church and outside the church. May you seek to always glorify Him in the church and out.

“A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching.” C.H. Spurgeon

As one seeks to live a Christ-like life each day, he or she must do so with a thankful heart to God. Praise His dear name for what He did for us while we were dead in our sins and trespasses. Romans 5:8 tells us that God demonstrates or shows His own love for us in this that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.


Thou the Cross didst bear: What bear I? Thou the Thorn didst wear: What wear I? Thou to death didst dare: What dare I? Thou for me dost care: What care I?

No surprise that Christians put God before country, Mohler tells TIME

By Jeff Robinson

Many Evangelicals believe their primary allegiance is to the Kingdom of God and not the kingdom of man because it is the teaching of the New Testament, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in an article posted this week on, the website of TIME magazine.

The article, "God or Country?" analyzes the results of a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center which reveals that 42 percent of American Christians view their allegiance to God as taking precedence over their commitment to their country.

While the article's author David Van Biema expresses surprise that some evangelicals would choose "God first," Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, pointed out that when believers express their allegiance to God, they are simply following the teaching of Scripture.

"Our primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ," Mohler said, "…for our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God rather than any earthly polity, and that is a clear and unambiguous teaching in the New Testament."

While the Christian's first priority is God, American believers are simultaneously citizens who are committed to abiding by the laws of the land, Mohler said, pointing out that Evangelicals diverge from those laws when they contradict biblical teachings on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Mohler, whom Van Biema called "one of Evangelicalism's most influential theologians," said he can envision a time when Christians might be forced "to constitute an adversary culture" in America and that there might come a time when Christians in the United States so oppose the unbiblical policies of their government that it leads to the persecution of believers, Mohler said.

"Christians have to think carefully and clearly as to how to be faithful," Mohler said. "It could lead to civil disobedience. It could lead to the acceptance of the [civil] penalty. In the history of Christianity it has led to martyrdom."

However, American Christians are not yet in a situation in which they must "debate the legitimacy" of their government, Mohler said.

The article points out that another Pew Research poll also shows roughly the same data regarding Muslims in France: many of them view religion as taking priority over their French citizenship. Christians, of all people, should not be surprised at this finding, Mohler said.

"This is anecdotal," Mohler said, "but in recent weeks there have been a number of stories in the British press about British Muslims and youth being more committed to Islam than to Britain. And I looked at all that outrage and thought, 'what in the world does it say about Christians in Great Britain that they appear so perplexed by this? You would certainly have to hope that Christians in Britain would understand that they, too would have a higher allegiance than to Crown and kingdom."

The entire article may be viewed at:,8599,1516191-1,00.html

SBC president tells SBTS students, "Watch your mindset, motive and methodology"

By Jeff Robinson

SBC President Frank Page greets SBTS student John Randolph and wife Kristie during his visit to the seminary this week.

Ministers of the Gospel must have minds, motives and methodologies that are calibrated to glorify God even when God places them in circumstances they would not have chosen, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Frank Page told students at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Tuesday.

Preaching in the seminary's chapel service from Philippians 1:12-20, Page said ministers often wind up in circumstances that were not in their plans. Like the apostle Paul, who preached the Gospel while chained between two prison guards, ministers must seek to advance the Gospel regardless of their personal situation.

Page who has served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Taylors, S.C. for the past 51/2 years, was elected president of the SBC at the annual meeting in June.

"The chains gave Paul the opportunity to minister to the lost in ways he had never envisioned before," he said. "Imagine the soldiers that were chained to this man. Here is a man who is going to be singing hymns at all hours of the night, a man who is going to be talking about Jesus whether they wanted him to or not…[Paul's imprisonment] also gave him an opportunity to spread the Gospel in Caesar's household.

For full article click here.

Calvinist Bias? Talking Points Gone Wild

Is the work ethic worn out? Churches let up on praise of labor's virtues

By MARY A. JACOBS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

If you don't like the work ethic, blame the Protestants.

As the theory goes, Protestant ministers greased the wheels of the Industrial Revolution, preaching hard work as a path to salvation, thus priming the masses to toil away in hopeless jobs. This, in turn, put money in the pockets of greedy bosses. Calvinist notions of "salvation through hard work" turned the church into the ultimate capitalist tool.

But you can't blame the church anymore. As we celebrate another Labor Day, Americans may be working harder than ever – but almost nobody, it seems, preaches about the work ethic these days.

"I have yet to hear a sermon on the virtues of hard work," said Eugene McCarraher, a Villanova University professor of humanities. Even though he wrote an article this summer for Christianity Today titled "The False Gospel of Work," he admits he's arguing against an idea that isn't coming from most pulpits.

Click here for full article.

National Baptist Convention Underway

35,000 to 40,000 delegates expected to attend 5-day gathering

By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

As any local Methodist or Presbyterian will tell you, Dallas doesn't lack for Baptists. And battalions more are pouring into the city for this week's annual session of the National Baptist Convention, USA.

Among those glad to see them is Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"It's one of the largest conventions to meet in Dallas this year," said Mr. Jones. "We're expecting 35,000 to 40,000 delegates, with an economic impact in excess of $40 million. And it's occurring during a period that's traditionally slow for us."

The National Baptist Convention, USA is one of the country's largest predominantly black religious groups, claiming 7.5 million members.

That's less than half the size of the Southern Baptist Convention, but when it comes to annual meetings, the National Baptist Convention, USA routinely turns out the bigger crowd.

The group's meeting begins today and runs through Friday with most of the action scheduled for the Dallas Convention Center.

That's the venue for tonight's Convention Musical, a three-hour extravaganza featuring mass choirs and various styles of sacred music.

"We expect to hear it all, and done in such a way that folk will look back and say, 'My, what a time!' " said the Rev. Stephen C. Nash, pastor of Dallas' Mount Tabor Baptist Church and a leader of the local welcoming committee.

Throughout the week, delegates and others will gather for worship services full of rousing oratory.

Click here for full article.

One of Pentecost's Original Son's Writes a Book

Longwood, FL (PRWEB) September 7, 2006 -- The year 2006 marks the centennial of the Azusa Street Revival, generally regarded as the birth of modern-day Pentecostalism, which has been the fastest growing religious movement of the past century. Much has been written concerning the early beginnings of the Pentecostal movement, and new books are coming out continually about Pentecostals today, but relatively few records exist about the crucial transitional period of the movement in the mid-20th century.

J. Stephen Conn helps fill that gap from a very personal perspective in his new book, “Growing up Pentecostal” (ISBN 1600340857). It is a true confession of an ultimate insider among Pentecostal preacher’s kids. The third of twelve children in the home of one of America’s most prominent Pentecostal ministers, Conn’s tremendous gift of storytelling eloquently portrays his childhood antics and personal spiritual odyssey. He pulls no punches. Conn gives a disarmingly honest and sometimes outrageously funny account of his struggle to come to terms with his own calling as he traveled throughout America as a teenage preacher.

Conn grew up in the home of the General Overseer (CEO) of the Church of God, the world’s oldest Pentecostal denomination. This gave him an insider’s view of the church, both locally and globally, even as a child. After spending more than 30 years as a Pentecostal minister, Conn now considers himself a post-Pentecostal. He has been ordained as a minister in three different denominations – two of them Pentecostal. “I do not write as a theologian, a sociologist, or a historian, although what I write is historically accurate,” says Conn. “I am a storyteller, with no ax to grind and no hidden agenda to either criticize or defend the Pentecostal faith.”

For full article click here.

Democrats Try to Find Religion - or at Least Religious Voters

WASHINGTON, September 4 - David Wilhelm once drew hisses when he suggested that Christians could be Republicans or Democrats.

Years later, Wilhelm is spreading that message again, and he's hoping for a better response this time.

With a leading poll showing only one in four Americans viewing the Democratic Party as friendly to religion, Wilhelm and a broad-based group of Christian Democratic activists are starting an Internet effort to organize religious voters whose views might be compatible with Democrats.

For full article click here.

Evangelical Students Puzzled by Georgetown Ban

WASHINGTON -- Georgetown University's cutting of ties with outside evangelical ministries has student-members of those groups puzzled about their place on campus.

"We're still very much in the dark about what we are officially allowed to do," said Georgetown senior Nathanael Oakes, a student leader at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

The Madison, Wis.-based organization, which claims 35,000 members, aims to establish "witnessing communities of students and faculty who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord," according to its Web site.

For full article click here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Forced to Go This Route

Since I now live in Iowa and we have no NFL Team, I have a few choices to make:

Forget the NFL and the overpaid cry babies and go strictly NCAA - I mean after all the Iowa Hawkeyes are a great team and College ball rules!

Continue rooting for my beloved Chargers even though I can never see them in person again without a plane flight. And, after all, I am from California so team loyalty always runs thin.

Or - Go for the Colts they are only four hours away and they are a good team - I really like Tony Dungy.

Or - Da'Bears - I like the Bears but ever since the 80's with the Fridge and Jim McMahon (honestly I just can't see me arguing for those two guys).

Decisions, Decisions, - Are you Ready for Some Football??

Chargers Vs. Chiefs

Superbowl Champions Wear Blue and Yellow

I think that's going to leave a mark!!!

Antonio Gates is the MAN!!!!!

What happened?

Not enough Chiefs?
Maybe you can use 12 next time?

A picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Enough said!!!!!!!!!

It's NFL Time

Tomorrow night marks the beginning of the NFL. I don't know what team(s) you may be rooting for this year, but this is the Kansas Chief's year to go to the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Lessons from the Crocidile Man

Just like everyone in America, Australia and around the world I was shocked at how the crocodile hunter's life was taken. Now here was a man that faced many dangerous animals and he was speared by a stingray? Interesting! This story is an example of how quick the life of a person can be snuffed out. One never knows when he or she will draw their last breath. It is so important that a person gets right with God immediately and cries out to Him in repentance and turns from the sins in their life.

I don’t know if Steve Irwin was saved and a born-again Christian, but he was sure passionate about life, a family-man and alerting people to the fact that animals are special creatures and they need to be kept safe. Christians, what can we learn from some aspects of this man's life? First, we need to be more passionate about our message and the Word of God; that is boldly, and joyfully proclaiming the good news of the Gospel to a lost and dying world. Second, we cannot forget our families, our dear spouse and children.

This is a plea today for you to come to personal faith in Jesus Christ and turn from your sins so that you can experience life that lasts forever.

The Quiet Rest of God

To some Labor Day is a mere holiday, a day off work or a day of playing and that is all it is. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having fun on holiday's like Labor Day, but it needs to be godly fun.

As I thought about it yesterday I thought about how thankful that I am to be resting in Jesus Christ everyday. I am grateful that He is my personal Lord and Savior and can walk with Him on a daily basis.

If people do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior, he or she does not know the rest that can only come from God.

Just notice how many times you read the word rest in this one section of Hebrews Chapter Four.

Heb 4:1-13
4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest , as he has said,
"As I swore in my wrath,'They shall not enter my rest ,'"
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way:"And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." 5 And again in this passage he said,
"They shall not enter my rest ."
6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
"Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts."
8 For if Joshua had given them rest , God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest , so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Absent from the Body Present With The Lord

Saturday, my brother in Christ and great friend Chris Hinton's father was called home to be with the Lord. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest sympathies from my family to his.

Chris, we love you and your family dearly and are praying for you all as you go through this tough time.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Biblical Training Is So Important

The training of disciples is seriously lacking in many churches. This is a plea for the pastors to train and equip disciples of Jesus Christ in your church. Many pastors and church members wonder why there are so many people walking out the back door as quick as they walk in the front door. Either #1 they are not really saved or #2 they have not been trained, discipled, or mentored.

I wanted to share some important verses about training to encourage you.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” More times than not we think of this verse as children, I think not! It applies to the newly saved in Christ as well.

2 Timothy 3:10-17

10 All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra — which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

-Scripture provides positive training “instruction” originally referred to training a child in godly behavior, not merely rebuke and correction of wrong behavior—John MacArthur

Titus 2:11-15

11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

-Salvation is transforming (new birth) produces a new life in which the power of sin has been broken—John MacArthur

The modern church of Jesus Christ needs to be a training institution, a place where people are saved from sin and trained, mentored, and discipled; in other words grow in their faith. Catch the importance of discipleship!

In Bible times, a student. Whereas a student today studies a subject (law, architecture, or whatever), a disciple in olden days learned from a teacher. Attachment to a specific teacher was the essence of discipleship. The Pharisees and John the Baptist had disciples (Mark 2:18). The Jews saw themselves as disciples of Moses (John 9:28). The term is used often in the Gospels and Acts of the followers of Jesus. They learned from him and attached themselves wholeheartedly to him. It meant putting Christ before family and possessions. It meant taking up the cross (Luke 14:26-33). Today, too, to be a disciple of Jesus means total commitment.

The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton , IL; 1984), pp. 348-349

Friday, September 1, 2006

Best One Liner Ever

This is hilarious.

Pinocchio Converts to Islam

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum.

'Give me some bread, for Allah's sake,' Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education.

'Thanks be to Allah,' the puppet says later.

In The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas.

An old woman explains: 'He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness.'

Tom Sawyer may always have shirked his homework, but he is more conscientious in learning his Islamic prayers. He is given a 'special treat' for learning the Arabic words.

For full article click here.